James McCall, a well-known fund manager hired by Merrill Lynch & Co. in 1999, has resigned from the company, The Wall Street Journal reported today. The two aggressive funds managed by McCall, the Merrill Lynch Focus Twenty Fund and Merrill Lynch Premier Growth Fund, have lost 71% and 54%, respectively, so far this year.

Neither McCall nor Merrill is commenting on the reason for the portfolio manager’s departure, according to the Journal. McCall had been recruited by former Merrill Lynch Investment Managers president Jeffrey Peek. Peek resigned in September after the firm selected Stanley O’Neal, not him, to be president of the firm.

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